Nancy Shulock, Executive Director; Colleen Moore, Researcher; Jeremy Offenstein, Researcher; Institute for Higher Education Leadership & Policy (IHELP), Sacramento State.
The career technical education (CTE) mission of the California Community Colleges is a vital part of the agenda to increase college completion and shore up economic competitiveness; yet this area of college academic programming gets too little emphasis and support. There is growing evidence of high market value of certificate and associate degree programs in select areas. There is also evidence that career-oriented programs can increase student motivation and improve outcomes, helping to meet workforce, equity, and productivity goals for California postsecondary education. Yet the attention given to CTE has not matched that given to the junior college transfer mission or to developmental education.
This session reviewed the evidence produced to date in a multi-year research agenda on community college CTE. IHELP researchers documented the high student interest in CTE along with the very low numbers of certificates and associate degrees awarded. They summarized the results of a system-wide inventory of CTE programs, by college, that suggests the need for far more attention to developing coherent program structures that deliver value to students and employers. They also discussed some of the challenges facing the colleges presented by the organizational structure around the CTE and workforce development mission and drew some contrasts with other states that have assigned a higher priority to the CTE mission.
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